I'm 55 going on 56 and have been drawing, painting and model making for most of my life.
After a disastrous attempt at science A-levels I spent 5 years in Art colleges culminating in a BA degree in Graphics at St Martins School of Art, worked in Photography 14 years then spent about 18 years on the Craft Circuit making dragons and garage kits into ornaments.
In 2009 I switched back to drawing with pencils and technical pens.
When did you first know you were an artist?
At the tender age of 7, a friend in primary school showed me how to draw a Spitfire in side view. Previously all my aircraft drawings looked like swatted flies with a wing on top and a wing on the bottom. It was a revelation to me at the time and caused me to take drawing seriously.
Style? Don't really know how to classify it.
I have always liked pencils (couldn't afford an electric guitar). Then on Foundation course I was introduced to watercolour pencils and technical pens and whilst at St Martins I encountered the airbrush and liquid acrylic inks. Combine all that with a love of photography and my growing ability with Photoshop and Daz3d and you have my style.
I draw with either Faber Castell coloured pencils or technical pens on paper, then digitize the results, manipulate them on the Mac and print them out either on laser or inkjet. Sometimes I also airbrush or tint black and white laser prints with the acrylic inks.
PROCESS and TECHNIQUES
It all varies sometimes I start with Shamanistic journeying techniques for the initial idea, other times I'll trip over an idea as I go about my daily life. Once I have an idea I work out a design in Daz3D so I can produce a rendered figure for reference. Then I draw it either in colour or in pen and ink (depending on how subtle I want it) and scan and manipulate in Photoshop to produce the final result.
This conscious reality is only part of existence and there are many other possibilities of awareness that have been educated out of our cultured Western perception. Because our brains only translate a fraction of what our eyes perceive into recognizable form there is a wealth of unseen and unrecognised life out there. We are definitely not alone. With this in mind I use folk-lore, fantasy and myth to provide a genre within which to promote these themes.
How do you find ideas?
In the anomalies that occur in the patterns that constitute organic life.
Why create art?
Can't help myself I'm driven to do it.
I tried to stop for about 6 months - I had a steady job, place to live, active social life, etc., and not being creative drove me bonkers.
I had to go back to it.
How often do you make art?
At it every day unless circumstances really get in the way.
Do you have a best artwork?
I don't really have a best. I can still produce crap from time to time and those works are stunningly obvious.
I'll work on something until it sings back at me and hopefully that's when I stop.
What is the role of artists in the world?
Currently the successful "Artist" provides commercial investment opportunities for large corporations seeking to hedge their capital.
There is also a case to be made for current artists occupying the role of psychiatric waste recycling plants.
In previous times it was an honorable profession fulfilling the role of essence portrayal and education for future generations.
Do you make a sustainable income from your art?
When I was on the craft circuit I just about got by but it is proving very hard in this economic environment to get anywhere. Of course being diagnosed with prostrate cancer didn't help. The subsequent hospitalisation and not being able to move around much afterwards limited me to drawing on the settee with no pants on. So this year is my first professional attempt at self promotion.
Facebook - only just started this http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003588474529
& Epilogue http://www.epilogue.net/cgi/database/art/list.pl?gallery=23584
Never done the Art influence thingy.
When I was at St Martins I had to endure the Art historians pontificating and I was never impressed.
I like Art Nouveau - Alphonse Mucha's prints. Never been good with names my memory is all visual.
Please recommend a contemporary artist.
No. I like Ed Org & Dirk Richter's stuff though.
Please relate an interesting story from your life.
My Wife and I rented an old pump house on an estate that had been cut in half by the M25 in Egham. One day the toilet started to back up.
We were broke at the time so I had the manhole up and started to try to unblock it. After many many buckets of waste had been relocated there was still no flow so I found a long length of plastic and started pushing that down the pipe to dislodge whatever... and it snapped in the pipe. After a lot of swearing and kicking things I had to put my head down the manhole and reach into the pipe to my shoulder to get this plastic out. That's when I discovered that s**t washes off. 2 days later I found out it was a septic tank and all my efforts were moot.
Advice for artists
Believe in your self because if you don't then no-one else will.
The fantasy artwork of John Pilkington
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